Tweed Daily News

Phil's a wheelie big help

FORMER devoted eco-tourism advocate Peter Bentley may have lost nearly everything he owned in last week's devastating fire which destroyed the Bilambil house he was staying in, but he still has his friends.

One of them, Murwillumbah car dealer Phil Taylor has moved to help out his mate and fellow board member of the former Northern NSW Ecotourism Association with the loan of a car while he repairs the one damaged by the blaze.

Police late last week said the cause of the fire, which destroyed Doug Ogilvie's farmhouse where Mr Bentley was staying, may never be known because the severity of the destruction had made it difficult for forensic investigators to determine even where it started.

Mr Ogilvie, an ardent letter writer to the Tweed Daily News who had called the farmhouse home for 34 years, lost, along with Mr Bentley, nearly everything in the fire which they desperately tried to fight before the Rural Fire Service arrived.

Mr Taylor said helping Mr Bentley out with a loan car while repairing the damaged one was the least he could do.

“He's been a friend of mine for a long time. I even gave him some accommodation until he got sick and had to move closer to the Gold Coast to be nearer medication,” he said.

“I sold him the car that was damaged - a 1980 XD Falcon. Now I've slotted him into a little Honda.”

Mr Taylor said he had formerly been a director with the well-known environmentalist, the late Bruce Chick, on the former Northern NSW Ecotourism Association when Mr Bentley was president.

He said it would take some time to repair the damaged Falcon.

“The grille and the lights all melted and it needs a new windscreen,” he quipped.

Late last week forensic crime scene investigators moved onto the blackened site of the fire to try and determine its cause.

All that was left of the Urliup Road house in the aftermath of the blaze was the shell of the building.

Mr Ogilvie said the fire started quickly and he first noticed flames exploding from the toilet.

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